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Summer is in full swing and if you’re child is attending preschool for the first time this fall, then this is a great time to start preparing them for the big transition!
Here are some simple things to work on this summer to make the first day of school a breeze:
A Solid Routine
Having a set routine has MANY benefits but it’s easy to let it slide during the lazy days of summer. School teachers have a set routine for their day and it’s best to help your child adapt to that now so they will more easily adjust in the fall. If you’re able to, ask the school in advance for a rough outline of their day and it may allow you to go ahead and align meal-times, snack times and potty breaks with what your child will be experiencing throughout the school year. It’s also important to keep a solid sleep schedule during the summer. You don’t want your child being sleepy on the first day so in the weeks leading up to school starting be sure to wake them when they will need to be awake to get ready for the day!
The ability to play independently is important for school success. Having a set time of each day where your child plays on their own with a limited option for toys is a great way to prepare them for life as a student in the classroom. If you haven’t already been doing independent playtime with your child then it’s never too late to start…here’s my post on tips for starting late!
Preschool is ALL about learning social skills and having playdates with kids in their age group is a great way to see how they will adapt to having so many children around them on a daily basis. This is important for children without siblings, but also still valuable for those who do have siblings at home too. Playing with children who aren’t related to them will be a different experience than having an older sibling bossing them around or a younger one who they can run the show with!
Sit Still Activities
Even though preschool may be a lot of interactive learning and lots of moving and fun, it still is a time where children are expected to be able to sit in a chair and focus on a given activity. Try to set aside 15-20 min a day of sitting at the table with your child. Have them color or draw or do play dough or other crafts.
Time Away from Mommy
For many children preschool is the first time they truly are away from their parents for a significant length of time. If your child falls into that category then it’s wise to start easing them into it. Plan a day date with your spouse and have someone keep your child! Visit a local VBS or other summer camp and have them play. Drop them at a friends house for a couple hours for a play date without Mommy present.
I am a big fan of using books and stories to help prepare my children for big life changes. There are TONS of books about the first day of school or ones that are related to school. Reading these throughout the summer will help show your child what to expect when school starts and will help get them excited! I love the Bearstein Bears and this is one of my favs!
As moms we tend to do a lot of the shopping for our family without our kids in toe but when building up the anticipation and excitement about school it’s great to include your child for some of the shopping fun! Let them choose their first day of school outfit. Take them to pick out a book bag or lunch box (or just let them choose online!). Be sure to store their outfit and book bag in a place where they can see them and you can casually refer to them throughout the summer “Look at that new book bag! So excited for you to get to use it!”
Keep Emotions in Check
The first day of school is a BIG DEAL. It’s a big deal for our children, but it’s especially a big deal for us as their mom. It’s hard to see them growing up and to entering this new phase of life. It’s an emotional time but it’s very important to not display those emotions to our children. You want them to be excited for school and happy about the big step they are taking! Seeing you upset (or “happy mom tears”) will be confusing for them. They are too young to understand our emotions (nor should they need to!) and it’s best to put on that big happy smile for them! Save the tears for the car (and trust me, they will come!).
It’s also important to not linger at drop off. I know it’s hard to leave, but give that quick kiss and go! And if your child runs into their classroom and is playing happily, just leave. It’s hard not to get that big goodbye hug you’ve been anticipating, but it’s awesome that they are so excited and eager to be there! Pat yourself on the back for doing so great preparing them for this moment 🙂